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When a child disappears, every second counts: Malaysian police partner with Facebook

AvantiKumar | Nov. 7, 2016
International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC): We hope other countries in the region will follow Malaysia’s example of strengthening its response to protecting children at risk.

Emily Vacher, director, Trust and Safety of Facebook shows PDRM NUR system 

Photo - (on stage left) Emily Vacher, director, Trust and Safety of Facebook shows PDRM NUR system on mobile devices

 

The Malaysian police force, Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM), has announced an urgent response system in partnership with Facebook to find missing children.

"When a child disappears, every second counts," said Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Dato Sri Khalid Abu Bakar during the official announcements of Facebook joining PDRM as its 36th NUR Alert system task force member, which helps reunite missing children with their families.

"Facebook's geo-targeted alerts will help spread information quickly and effectively to ultimately increase our abilities to find the child," he said.

"Research has shown that the rapid distribution of information greatly increases the chances of locating a missing child, safe and sound," added the IGP. "Facebook is a powerful tool for rapid and trusted communication and the ability to target people within the search area will undoubtedly help in missing children cases."

Emily Vacher, director, Trust and Safety of Facebook said, "We know the chances of finding a missing child increase when more people are on the lookout, especially in the critical first hours. Our goal is to help get these alerts out quickly to the people who are in the best position to help. About 19 million people in Malaysia are on Facebook, connecting with their friends, family and things that matter most to them. We hope a community of this size and engagement will help reunite children with their families."

Vacher said the arrangement includes sending National Urgent Response (NUR) Alerts to the Facebook community to help find missing children in Malaysia. The service will deliver NUR Alerts to people's Facebook News Feed if they are in the designated search area after a child has gone missing and PDRM has issued an alert.

She said the alerts will include important details about the child such as a photo, description, location of where the child went missing, and any other available information that can be provided to the public to aid in the search.

People will be able to refer back to the alert for details they missed and share the alert with friends.

'Follow Malaysia's example"
 
Ambassador Maura Harty, president and chief executive officer of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) said: "As an international NGO, we continuously advocate for greater and more effective responses when a child goes missing. We welcome the new partnership between PDRM and Facebook."

"This collaboration will show how powerful social media can be in engaging the public and in the safe recovery of a missing child," said Harty. "We hope other countries in the region will follow Malaysia's example of strengthening its response to protecting children at risk and we congratulate Facebook for its commitment to making the world a safer place for children."

A statement from PDRM and Facebook included details of the process: "When PDRM determines that a case qualifies for a NUR Alert, the alert is issued by the police and distributed through the Facebook's targeted system with any available information about the child. It may include a photo of the child, a vehicle description, or any other useful information that would help the public to find the child. The number of alerts people will see depends on how many alerts are issued in their area - some people may see a few each year and many people will likely get no alerts at all. The alerts will appear in News Feed, but will not trigger any notifications to a person's phone."

 

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